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11/24/2010
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Wealthier Americans Use Internet More

Pew Research study finds households earning $75,000 or more go online and use technology more often than their lower-income counterparts.

Americans earning $75,000 a year or more use the Internet and Internet-connected devices significantly more than their lower-income counterparts, a study shows.

Fully 95% of households in the higher-income bracket use the Web at least occasionally, compared with 70% of less affluent Americans, a survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found. The same percentage of higher-income households uses mobile phones, compared with 83% of households with less income.

The study, released Wednesday, shows that higher-income American households use a broad number of Internet-connected devices more than lower-income households do. Those devices range from desktop and laptop computers to tablets and e-book readers.

The trend continues among even higher-income households -- those earning $150,000 a year or more. The median income for an American household is $49,777, according to Pew.

Fully 99% of households earning $75,000 a year or more use the Internet at home, compared with 93% of the less affluent. In addition, 93% of the wealthier households have a broadband connection in the home, versus 85% of the less well-to-do.

As to device preferences among the more affluent, 79% own desktops and the same percentage have laptops, compared with 55% and 47%, respectively, of lower-income Americans. With Apple iPods or other MP3 players and video-game consoles, the comparisons are 70% versus 42% and 54% versus 41%, respectively.

Higher-income Americans also use e-book readers more, 12% versus 3%, and Apple iPads, 9% versus 3%.

The trend of higher Internet use among the more affluent continued when Pew took a look at households with an income of $150,000 or more. Compared with lower-income Americans, these well-to-do households are 30% more likely to use the Internet, 25% more likely to use e-mail, 19% more likely to pay bills online and 19% more likely to get news online.

The study did not delve into why people in higher-income brackets use the Internet and technology more. However, the correlation between the two could be interpreted as a reason for universal Internet access.

The survey is based on phone interviews with more than 7,500 Americans between December 2009 and May 2010.

SEE ALSO:

The Internet In 2020: Mobile And Mean

Mobile Internet Use Surges To 59% Of Adults

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